New ways to make a crust

Sarah Luke

AS restrictions to stamp out the spread of COVID-19 spell closure for most businesses, some have been able to adapt their regular services to fill gaps in the market.

Centre Bakery, Sale, is now offering a ‘survival menu’, giving people access to basic pantry items that have proved elusive in local supermarkets.

Owner Elaine Bateman said the idea came about when a few customers and staff shared how difficult it was to find the essentials.

“Not long after the initial panic buying started, a lady rang the bakery from Coles supermarket crying,” she said.

“She was upset about not being able to get a simple product like flour to do her baking.

“We were in the middle of putting together the program and this phone call confirmed the need for a service of supplying basic pantry items.

“It’s the simple pleasures like these that we have taken for granted.

“If we can help keep people continue to keep baking, we just might be able to do our part in keeping a positive mind within the community.

“We are providing these items at low cost.

“Right now it’s not about the bakery making money, it’s about us surviving, just like everyone else.

“If I can keep the doors open, pay staff and continue to pay my bills, then we’ll be one of the very lucky businesses.

“The added bonus of being able to help people get basic pantry items makes us very happy.

“We have been overwhelmed with orders and messages of support.”

Ms Bateman said the new menu was mutually beneficial; the bakery and its customers aren’t the only ones who needed to survive.

“Our suppliers are now seeing a massive downturn in sales, due to over 50 per cent of their customers closing their doors,” she said.

“So we are also helping them out by moving stock. “We just need to remain mindful that we only sell items that are in plentiful supply, being respectful to fellow food businesses that are also trying to keep trading.”

Ms Bateman said the ordering system enabled the community to do as many normal things they could from home.

“We know how much happiness baking and cooking brings,” she said.

“We are also encouraging people to get the kids involved with baking at home and have now started selling dough that you can bake at home.

“I also have lots of other exciting ideas about to be rolled out.”

The bakery is running the new survival menu program alongside its regular take home dinner program – a service that has been running for six years.

The take home dinner program was created after older people in the community voiced how they needed a home meal delivery service, but wanted a cold meal to heat and enjoy at their leisure, rather than a hot meal at lunch time.

Ms Bateman said the program provided affordable, nutritious, low fat and salt ready-to-eat meals, prepared with fresh, quality ingredients.

“Over the years, our program has been well received by busy working people, sporting families and people who have low mobility at home,” she said.

“It’s now busier than ever.”

The bakery also supplies meals to clients of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Mercy Health, Centre Community Health, Bentas Home Care and some other community services.

“For those clients, it’s all about keeping people at home for as long as possible,” she said.

People who are interested in accessing either menu can email centrebakery@bigpond.com for a copy of the menu, check the Centre Bakery Facebook page for regular updates, or phone 5144 1202.

The bakery asks those who can pick up their order do so, in order to try and keep the contactless delivery service for those who cannot leave their homes.

The bakery’s café remains open for take-away only.